What makes raw honey different from regular honey is that it does not undergo filtration or pasteurization. As a result, it contains many of the natural waxes and impurities (much of which are hypothesized to be antibacterial).
The most common approach seems to originate from a study done in 2001 . In this study, a mixture of 90% raw honey and 10% warm water was used. The treatment involved rubbing this mixture onto seborrheic dermatitis affected skin for 2-3 minutes and leaving it on for 3 hours before being washing off. This treatment was then repeated every second day for a period of 4 weeks. The individuals who experienced improvement were further included into a second portion of the study. In the second portion, half of the improved individuals received on-going once-a-week treatments lasting six months, while the other received no such treatments.
The results of this studied were quite substantial. During the first part of the study, itching and scaling was documented as being relieved in a period of just 1 week, skin lesions healed and disappeared within 2 weeks, and hair loss improved as seborrheic dermatitis improved. Luckily, the second part of the study also provided some insights on the long term effectiveness of this treatment. In this follow up phase 15 of the 15 individuals who underwent follow up treatment experienced no relapse of the condition. While in 12 of 15 patients who did not undergo the prolonged (once weekly) treatment, the seborrheic dermatitis lesions reappeared within a period of 2-4 months after treatment was stopped. It is these results, coupled with the all natural appeal of raw honey, have made this treatment quite popular across the internet. However, likely due to the inconvenience factor of this treatment approach, it has failed to gain the popularity that it might have otherwise deserved.
In the skincare industry, honey is classified as an emollient (prevents moisture loss), humectant (attracts moisture) and moisturizing (provides moisture) product. Regular use has been shown to aid the retention of skin youthfulness and aid in the prevention of wrinkle formation . Both of these benefits are attributed to honey’s moisturization abilities. But, when it comes to seborrheic dermatitis, the main beneficial properties have been attributed more to the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties . These properties appear to differ between different honey varieties . Since raw honey is not by any means a standardized product, the variation of its effectiveness appears to be common.